They work closely with residents in long-term care. For those who would like to work with elders but don’t want to spend years in school, one of the best options is to train as a nursing assistant.
For_those with a fondness for older adults and an interest in healthcare, there’s plenty of opportunity in the years ahead. By 2030, about 20 percent of Americans will be over 65, and their medical needs will increase with age.
Unfortunately, however, most healthcare fields require four or more years of college. For those who would like to work with elders but don’t want to spend years in school, one of the best options is to train as a nursing assistant.
Registered nursing assistants (NARs) play an essential role in long-term care. They help residents eat, dress and bathe; check their vital signs; and help them get in and out of bed. Because they work so closely with residents, nursing assistants are also in the best position to notice any changes in a resident’s physical, mental and emotional state.
NARs complete eight weeks of classroom work, followed by one week of clinical instruction. After candidates pass an exam approved by the Minnesota Department of Health, their names are added to the state’s Nursing Assistant Registry.
Demand for nursing assistants is expected to grow in the years ahead. In Minnesota, assistants earn a median hourly wage of nearly $13.
In a 2008 report, the Institute of Medicine (www.iom.edu) recommended improving job desirability by offering greater opportunities for career growth. Some employers are beginning to do this by providing advanced nursing assistant classes and other professional development opportunities.
In some facilities, the role of the NAR is evolving as part of a broader “culture change.” In these facilities, NARs are starting to play a role in housekeeping, meal service and recreation.(source)